An Intro to History, Politics, & Public Health: Theories of Disease Distr. & Health Inequities




This course offers an introduction to the social and scientific contexts, content, and implications of theories of disease distribution, past and present. It considers how these theories shape questions people ask about--and explanations and interventions they offer for--patterns of health, disease, and well-being in their societies.

Designed for both master level and doctoral level students, SBS 506 also serves a pre-requisite for SBS 507, the in-depth continuation of the course required for SBS doctoral students. SBS 506 accordingly begins by reviewing the role of theory in the production of scientific knowledge. It next introduces both text-based theories of disease distribution developed in ancient Greece and China, and also oral traditions reflecting diverse American Indian, Latin American, African, and medieval European explanations of disease distribution, followed by an overview of theories employed during the rise of epidemiology as a distinct discipline in both Europe and the United States, from 1700 to 1950. It then introduces current theories and controversies, and employs selected case examples to illustrate their application to--and implications for understanding--current and changing population distributions of disease and health inequities, especially in relation to class, race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Emphasizing relationships between epidemiologic theory and practice, theories and frameworks covered include: miasma, contagion, germ theory, biomedical model, lifestyle, social production of disease/political economy of health, Latin American social medicine, health & human rights, social determinants of health, population health, psychosocial, lifecourse, and ecosocial theory.



Additional Information

Faculty: Nancy Krieger
Semester: Fall 1 Term
Time: Tues, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. ET
SBS 506